No.603 Sqn RAF
Founded : 14th October 1925
City of Edinburgh (Auxiliary)
Gin ye daur - If you dare
No 603 Squadron was formed on 14 October 1925 at Turnhouse as a day bomber unit of the Auxiliary Air Force. Originally equipped with DH9As and using Avro 504Ks for flying training, the squadron re-equipped with Wapitis in March 1930, these being replaced by Harts in February 1934. On 24 October 1938, No 603 was redesignated a fighter unit and flew Hinds until the arrival of Gladiators at the end of March 1939. Within two weeks of the outbreak of war in September 1939, the squadron began to receive Spitfires and passed on its Gladiators to other squadrons during October. It was operational with Spitfires in time to intercept the first German air raid on the British Isles on 16 October, when it destroyed the first enemy aircraft to be shot down over Britain in the Second World War. It remained on defensive duties in Scotland until the end of August 1940, when it moved to southern England for the remaining months of the Battle of Britain, returning to Scotland at the end of December. In May 1941, the squadron moved south again to take part in sweeps over France until the end of the year. After a further spell in Scotland, No.603 left in April 1942 for the Middle East where its ground echelon arrived early in June. The squadron's aircraft were embarked on the US carrier 'Wasp' and flown off to Malta on 20 April to reinforce the fighter defences of the beleaguered island. After nearly four months defending Malta, the remaining pilots and aircraft were absorbed by No.229 Squadron on 3 August 1942.
No.603 Sqn RAF
No.603 Sqn RAF Artwork Collection
Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia X4277 XT-M. by M A Kinnear.
Wounded Eagle by Ivan Berryman.
Head on Attack by Robert Taylor
Biggin Trio by Ivan Berryman.
A Call to Arms by David Pentland. (P)
Spitfire Country by Nicolas Trudgian.
Stung by the Wasp by Stan Stokes.
|Aces for : No.603 Sqn RAF|
|A list of all Aces from our database who are known to have flown with this squadron. A profile page is available by clicking the pilots name.|
|G K Gilroy||21.00|
|W G G Duncan-Smith||17.00||The signature of W G G Duncan-Smith features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Brian John George Carbury||15.50|
|John Donald Rae||13.00||The signature of John Donald Rae features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Basil Gerald 'Stapme' Stapleton||6.00||The signature of Basil Gerald 'Stapme' Stapleton features on some of our artwork - click here to see what is available.|
|Aircraft for : No.603 Sqn RAF|
|A list of all aircraft known to have been flown by No.603 Sqn RAF. A profile page including a list of all art prints for the aircraft is available by clicking the aircraft name.|
Manufacturer : Avro
Full profile not yet available.
Manufacturer : Bristol
Production Began : 1940
Number Built : 5564
BRISTOL BEAUFIGHTER The Bristol Beaufighter was a Torpedo Bomber and had a crew of two. with a maximum speed of 330mph and a ceiling of 29,000 feet. maximum normal range of 1500 miles but could be extended to 1750 miles. The Bristol Beaufighter carried four 20mm cannon in the belly of the aircraft and upto six .303in browning machine guns in the wings. it could also carry eight 3 -inch rockets, 1605 lb torpedo or a bomb load of 1,000 lb. The Bristol Beaufighter first flew in July 1939 and with some modifications entered service with the Royal Air Force in July 1940. In the winter of 1940 - 1941 the Beaufighter was used as a night fighter. and in March 1941 the aircraft was used at Coastal Command as a long range strike aircraft. and in 1941, the Beaufighter arrived in North Africa and used as a forward ground attack aircraft. The Bristol Beaufighter was used also in India, Burma and Australia. A total of 5,564 Beaufighters were built until production in Britain finished in 1945, but a further 364 were built in Australia for the Australian Air Force
Manufacturer : De Havilland
Full profile not yet available.
Manufacturer : Gloster
Production Began : 1935
Retired : 1945
Number Built : 746
GLOSTER GLADIATOR: A continuation form the Gloster Gauntlet aircraft the Gloster Gladiator (SS37) becoming designated the F.7/30 was named Gladiator on the 1st July 1935. The first 70 Gladiators had Under wing machine guns (Vickers or Lewis) before the browning became standard The first aircraft arrived at Tangmere airfield on in February 1937 to no. 72 squadron. at the outbreak of world war two a total of 218 Gladiators had been received by the Royal air force with a total of 76 on active service. They served also in the Middle eats and in 1940 when Italy joined the war was nearly the only front line fighter in the middle east. Between 1939 and 1941. the Gloster Gladiator flew in many war zones. flying in France, Greece, Norway, Crete Egypt Malta and Aden. The Aircraft claimed nearly 250 air victories. It stayed in front line duties until 1942, then becoming fighter trainer, and other sundry roles. It continued in these roles until the end of world war two. The Naval equivalent the Sea Gladiator a short service in the Middle east and European waters. A Total of 746 aircraft were built of these 98 were Sea Gladiators.. Performance. speed: 250mph at 17,500 feet, 257 mph at 14,600 Range 430 miles. Armament: Two fixed .3-03 browning machine guns
Manufacturer : Hawker
Production Began : 1930
Number Built : 1042
During the mid 1920’s The British Air Ministry recoignised the need for a light Bomber. The options were proposed the Avro Antelope, Fairey Fox and the Hawker Hart. Due to the low cost of maintenance for the hawker hart. It was chosen over the other two. The first prototype flew in June 1928 (J9052). Hawker Harts were first used in 1930 by No.33 Squadron at Eastchurch. Many of these aircraft were used overseas in India, the Middle East and South Africa, with some alterations being made to tropicalise the aircraft. With the Outcome being the Hart India. The Hawker Hart saw service during the Abyssinian Crisis in 1935/36 and served also in the North West Frontier of India. However, in Britain, most were being replaced by 1936, some still operating well into World War Two. Mainly in communication and Training roles until 1943 having been used by a total of 20 RAF and AAF Squadrons. A total of 1042 of this aircraft were built. The Hawker Hart saw service with many air forces. Including The Swedish Air Force who used it to great success as a dive bomber. (calling the Hart the B4), Egyptian Air Force, Royal Indian Air Force, Southern Rhodesian Air Force and Yugoslavian air force.
Manufacturer : Hawker
Production Began : 1935
The Hawker Hind entered service with the Royal Air Force in November1935 and eventually 20 RAF bomber squadrons equipped with Hawker Hinds. Many Hinds were also sold to foreign customers including Afghanistan, the Irish Free State, Latvia, Persia (Iran), Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland, and Yugoslavia. The Hawker Hind was gradually phased out of frontline service from 1936 onwards and replaced by the Fairey Battle and Bristol Blenheim. At the outbreak of world war two only 613 squadorn was still equipped with Hawker Hinds in the roll of Army co-operation before re-equipping the Hawker Hector in November 1939. The Hawker Hind became a training aircraft from 1938 being the next step up from basic training on Tiger Moths. In 1941, Hinds flew combat missions in their original role as light bombers. South African Hinds were employed against Italian forces in Kenya, Yugoslav Hinds were used against the Germans and Italians.
Manufacturer : Supermarine
Production Began : 1936
Retired : 1948
Number Built : 20351
Royal Air Force fighter aircraft, maximum speed for mark I Supermarine Spitfire, 362mph up to The Seafire 47 with a top speed of 452mph. maximum ceiling for Mk I 34,000feet up to 44,500 for the mark XIV. Maximum range for MK I 575 miles . up to 1475 miles for the Seafire 47. Armament for the various Marks of Spitfire. for MK I, and II . eight fixed .303 browning Machine guns, for MKs V-IX and XVI two 20mm Hispano cannons and four .303 browning machine guns. and on later Marks, six to eight Rockets under the wings or a maximum bomb load of 1,000 lbs. Designed by R J Mitchell, The proto type Spitfire first flew on the 5th March 1936. and entered service with the Royal Air Force in August 1938, with 19 squadron based and RAF Duxford. by the outbreak of World war two, there were twelve squadrons with a total of 187 spitfires, with another 83 in store. Between 1939 and 1945, a large variety of modifications and developments produced a variety of MK,s from I to XVI. The mark II came into service in late 1940, and in March 1941, the Mk,V came into service. To counter the Improvements in fighters of the Luftwaffe especially the FW190, the MK,XII was introduced with its Griffin engine. The Fleet Air Arm used the Mk,I and II and were named Seafires. By the end of production in 1948 a total of 20,351 spitfires had been made and 2408 Seafires. The most produced variant was the Spitfire Mark V, with a total of 6479 spitfires produced. The Royal Air Force kept Spitfires in front line use until April 1954.
Manufacturer : Westland
Full profile not yet available.
|Signatures for : No.603 Sqn RAF|
|A list of all signatures from our database who are associated with this squadron. A profile page is available by clicking their name.|
Flight Lieutenant Ray Harington
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Flight Lieutenant Ray Harington
| Flight Lieutenant Ray Harington |
Ray joined the RAF in 1941, completing his training in South Africa. In January 1944 he was posted to 603 Squadron flying Beaufighters in North Africa. Here he teamed up with navigator, Warrant Officer A.E. ‘Bert’ Winwood, and from where they launched attacks across the Mediterranean into Crete, Greece and the Aegean Islands against shipping, harbour installations and enemy aircraft with much success. In December 1944 they were posted to 235 Squadron Coastal Command, part of the Banff Strike Wing, converting to Mosquitos. In April 1945 they were shot down following a strike in the Kattegat, but avoided capture and with the help of the Danish resistance made it home, where they continued to fly again from Banff.
Flight Lieutenant Tony Holland DFC AE DFC (US)
Click the name above to see prints signed by Flight Lieutenant Tony Holland DFC AE DFC (US)
| Flight Lieutenant Tony Holland DFC AE DFC (US) |
Tony Holland flew the first spitfire to Malta from USS Wasp with 603 Squadron in April 1942. He shared in the destruction of 6 enemy aircraft.
Flight Lieutenant Ludvik Martel
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| Flight Lieutenant Ludvik Martel |
Ludwik Alfred Martel was born in 1919 in Piotrkow in central Poland. Yearning to fly, Martel took a gliding course and in 1937, having compled education in a state technical school in Lodz, enlisted in the Polish Air Force. Martel was a cadet pilot when Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. aftre a brave resistance the personnel of the Polish Air Forcel were ordered to make for neutral Romania. Martel escaped from the Romanian internment on September 29, and Martel travelled to France via the Balkans. There the Polish Armed Forces were being re-formed under General Sikorski. Posted to Britain, Martel was assigned to 54 Squadron Martel arrived in England in early 1940 and was commissioned in the RAF in May and transferred to the PAF on August 6. He joined 54 Squadron on August 10, 1940, during the height of the Battle of Britain. Shortly afterwards on the 28th October Martel was transferred to 603 Squadron, based at Hornchurch, flying Spitfires. He claimed a Bf 109 destroyed over the English Channel on 5 October. and a few days later he was forced down by an Me109, suffering shrapnel wounds. He was posted to the Polish 317 (City of Wilno) Squadron on 19 March 1941. He was rested on 28 January 1942, going to 58 OTU, as an instructor, before returning to 317 Squadron on 25 August. On 13 March he was posted with other Polish pilots to form the Polish Fighting Team, otherwise known as Skalskis Circus. They operated in the Western Desert from 17 March to 12 May and destroyed 30 enemy aircraft. He damaged a FW 190 on 4 April and destroyed a Bf 109 and damaged a Mc 200 on the 20th. He returned to 317 Squadron on 22 July 1943. He was posted to 16 FTS, Newton on 20 August but went back to 317 Squadron on 4 November, as a Flight Commander. Tour-expired, he was posted to HQ PAF on 12 September 1944.. Martel was released from service as a flight lieutenant. For a time he flew crop-spraying aircraft in East Africa and then in London he ran a successful property maintenance business. He was a prominent member and trustee of the Polish Air Force Association, looking after the welfare of its veterans and promoting fellowship with the Royal Air Force Association. Martel was decorated with the Virtuti Militari (5th Class) and with the Polish Cross of Valour. Sadly, we have learned that Ludvik Martel passed away on 25th April 2010
Wing Commander Peter Olver DFC
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Wing Commander Peter Olver DFC
| Wing Commander Peter Olver DFC |
Battle of Britain pilot, 611 and 603 squadrons. Wing Commander Peter Olver served with 603 Squadron on the 24th of October and on the following day his Spitfire was shot down but he baled out with only light injuries. When returning to duty he was transferred to 66 Squadron based at Biggin Hill and promoted to Flight Commander.
Group Captain Herbert M Pinfold
Click the name above to see prints signed by Group Captain Herbert M Pinfold
| Group Captain Herbert M Pinfold |
Group Captain Herbert Moreton Pinfold, Battle of Britian pilot with 56 Squadron flying Hurricanes, he also flew with 6, 64, 502 and 603 Squadrons. Sadly, Herbert Pinfold passed away on 19th October 2009. Group Captain Herbert Moreton Pinfold was born 5th February 1913 and joined the Royal Air Force in August 1934 at the age of 21. In September Herbert Pinfold was posted to 5 FTS, Sealand and with training completed, on the 5th of September he was sent to join 6 Squadron at Ismailia, Egypt. He returned to the UK on 19th March 1936 and joined the newly formed 64 Squadron. The squadron were flying Hawker Demons, and were moved to the Western Desert to combat the Italian Air Force threat. The squadron returned to the UK in September. After a short spell as personal assistant and pilot to AOC 11 Group, Herbert Pinfold was sent on a Flying Instructors Course at RAF Upavon. After completing the instructors course he was posted to 502 Squadron, AuxAF as Flying Instructor and Adjutant at RAF Aldergrove, Northern Ireland on 16th July 1938. In January 1939, Herbert Pinfold went to RAF Turnhouse, Edinburgh and joined 603 Squadron where the squadron were flying Gladiators and then Spitfires. He went to 3 FTS, South Cerney on 2nd July 1940, as an instructor. On the 11th of August Penfold went to Aston Down and converted to Hurricanes. Herbert Pinfold took command of 56 Squadron at North Weald on the 25th, remaining with it until 29th January 1941, after this he was posted to 10 FTS at Tern Hill when he returned to flying instruction with a posting to 10 FTS, Tern Hill. Herbert Pinfold completed the RAF Staff College course and went on a number fo staff positions in the UK and also overseas including Ceylon and Singapore. Coming back to the UK Herbert Pinfold took command of Duxford, at that time flying Meteors, after which was posted to the Air Ministry. In 1953 Herbert was appointed Air Attache in Rome, before returning to the UK in 1956 for a second spell as Station Commander of Duxford. On the 1st of October 1958 Herbet Pinfold retired at the rank of Group Captain. Sadly, Herbert Pinfold passed away on 19th October 2009.
Flight Lieutenant Jack Rae DFC*
Click the name above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Flight Lieutenant Jack Rae DFC*
| Flight Lieutenant Jack Rae DFC* |
New Zealander Jack Rae joined the RNZAF in September 1940, was posted to England and joined 485 Squadron RNZAF. He claimed 2 victories before being posted to 603 Squadron. With this unit he flew his Spitfire off USS Wasp to Malta, on 20th April 1942. After being shot down over the island, he was posted to 249 Squadron. During the following two weeks he saw much action, claiming 4 and one shared by the end of July. Posted back to the UK, he returned to combat flying in May 1943, rejoining 485 Squadron. He rapidly scored further victories, but on 22nd August just after downing an Fw190, his engine failed forcing him to land in France where he was taken POW. His final tally stood at 12 victories and 8 probables. He died on 19th December 2007.
Flight Lieutenant Allan Scott DFM
Click the name above to see prints signed by Flight Lieutenant Allan Scott DFM
| Flight Lieutenant Allan Scott DFM |
Allan Scott joined the RAF in March 1941, joining 124 Squadron in October, where he made his first claims. Ordered to Malta, he flew his Spitfire off HMS Eagle to the island on 21st July. Initially posted to 603 Squadron, he went to 1435 Squadron, seeing much action - including a victory during Operation Pedestal on 13th August. He remained with this unit until December 1942. Whilst on Malta he was credited with at least 5 destroyed and a further 2 probables, and received the DFM. Returnong to the UK he was commissioned in January 1943. In September he was posted to join 122 Squadron. His final tally was 6 victories.
Group Captain W G G Duncan-Smith DSO, DFC, AE
Click the name above to see prints signed by Group Captain W G G Duncan-Smith DSO, DFC, AE
| Group Captain W G G Duncan-Smith DSO, DFC, AE |
Spent WWII flying Spitfires in the Battle of Britian and over Europe accounting for 19 enemy aircraft destroyed, 7 probables and 15 damaged. Duncan-Smith was born in Madras, India, on 28th May 1914, the son of an officer in the Indian civil service. He was educated in Scotland, where he joined his schools OTC. Returning to India in 1933, he became a coffee and tea planter, but in 1936 returned to the UK to join the RAF.
Wartime service - Serving at 7 OTU at the outbreak of war, he was posted to No.611 Squadron RAF later that year. He was awarded a DFC in June 1941, and went to 603 Squadron in August 1941 as a Flight Commander. Taken ill late in the year, he spent some time in hospital, before joining 64 Squadron in March 1942. In August he became Wing Commander- Flying at RAF North Weald after a rest from operations. He was then sent to the Mediterranean as Wing leader, 244 Wing. In September 1943 after engine failure he bailed out into the sea, being rescued after 5 hours adrift. As a Group Captain, he then took charge of 324 Wing , finally leaving in March 1945. Duncan Smith or Smithy was credited with 17 confirmed kills, two shared kills, six probables, two shared probables and eight damaged in aerial combat. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Bar and the Distinguished Flying Cross and two Bars in recognition of his bravery. He also was a notable recipient of the 5 Years Safe Driving Award. He was the author of Spitfire into Battle, published in 1981, a highly entertaining account of aerial combat in the Spitfire aircraft. Group Captain Duncan Smith flew and fought in front-line operations continuously from the Battle of Britain through the struggle for Malta, the invasion of Italy and the liberation of France.
Flight Lieutenant John Squier
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Flight Lieutenant John Squier
| Flight Lieutenant John Squier |
John Squier was called up from the RAFVR at the outbreak of war, joining 64 Squadron at Kenley in June 1940 flying Spitfires. In August he crash landed following an attack by Hannes Trautloft of III/JG51, suffering severe injuries. Rejoining 64 Squadron in November, he was posted to 72 Squadron, then 603 Squadron, and finally 141 Squadron. He was commissioned in 1942. After the war he became a test pilot and was the first pilot to eject at supersonic speed. He died 30th January 2006.
Squadron Leader Basil Stapleton DFC
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Squadron Leader Basil Stapleton DFC
| Squadron Leader Basil Stapleton DFC |
Born in South Africa, Basil Stapleton joined the RAF in Jan 1939, being posted to 603 Sqn flying Spitfires. He first saw action off Scotland, sharing in the destruction of two bombers, before the Squadron was posted south to Hornchurch during the height of the Battle of Britain. By Nov 1940 his tally had risen to 6 and 2 shared victories and 8 probables. In March 1942 he was posted to 257 Sqn as flight commander. In August 1944 he commanded 247 Sqn flying Typhoons, taking part in the Arnhem operations. In December 1944, whilst attacking a train, debris hit his aircraft forcing him to land behind enemy lines where he was taken prisoner of war. Stapme Stapleton had scored 6 victories, plus 2 shared, 5 probable and 2 damaged. Sadly, we have learned that Basil Stapleton passed away on 13th April 2010.
Wing Commander George W Swanwick
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by Wing Commander George W Swanwick
| Wing Commander George W Swanwick |
George Swanwick was born on 10th November 1915 and was an air-gunner on Wallaces and Hinds with 504 squadron at RAF Hucknall during the 1930s. In May 1936, 504 became part of the Auxiliary Air Force, and in October 1938 converted to a fighter unit, equipped with Gauntlets. In 1938 George re-trained as a pilot, and was promoted to Sergeant Pilot in August 1939. In May 1940 George Swanwick joined 7 BGS, and on 7th September was posted to 54 Squadron at Catterick flying Spitfires. He then went to 41 Squadron at Hornchurch. Commissioned in late 1941, he was posted to 222 Squadron at North Weald in April 1942 as a Flight Commander. In July George Swanwick joined 603 Squadron in Malta and in September 1942, George was posted to 7 OTU at Port Sudan as Flight Commander. In July 1943, he joined 81 Squadron in Malta as a supernumerary. George was invalided back to the UK and following his discharge from hospital in 1944, George held various staff appointments until the end of the war. George Swanwick was granted a Permament Commission in 1949 and retired on 30th April 1970, as a Wing Commander. Sadly, George Swanwick passed away on 4th January 2011.
Air Commodore Sir Archie Winskill KCVO CBE DFC AE
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Air Commodore Sir Archie Winskill KCVO CBE DFC AE
| Air Commodore Sir Archie Winskill KCVO CBE DFC AE |
An RAFVR pilot, Winskill flew with both 72 Squadron and 603 Squadrons during the Battle of Britain. Commissioned in August 1940 he was posted in February 1941 to 41 Squadron where he soon became a Flight Commander. Baders determination to engage the enemy at every possible opportunity is what he remembers most clearly of the period, On August 14th he was shot down over France, just five days after Bader. He managed to evade capture and, with the help of the French Resistance, made his way to Spain and then Gibraltar. He was the first pilot to use this route home. After another operational posting to North Africa, after which he was awarded a Bar to his DFC, he finished the war with four confirmed victories. Post war he stayed on in the RAF and was Captain of the Queens Flight for 14 years. He died 9th August 2005.
Warrant Officer Bert Winwood
Click the name or photo above to see prints signed by or with the mounted signature of Warrant Officer Bert Winwood
| Warrant Officer Bert Winwood |
WO A.E. 'Bert' Winwood was a Navigator on Mosquitoes and Beaufighters, flew only with pilot Ray Harrington attached to 603 sqn in the Greek Campaign. Bert did his Navigator training in Canada and in January 1944 was posted to 603 Squadron on Beaufighters, based at Gambut, near Tobruk. From here they launched attacks right across the Mediterranean into Crete, Greece and the Aegean Islands against shipping, harbour installations and enemy aircraft with much success. In December 1944 he was posted to 235 Squadron at RAF Banff flying as navigator on Mosquito's flying in the Banff Strike Wing. In April 1945 he was shot down when returning from a strike in the Kattegat, he and his pilot Ray Harrington avoided capture, and with the help of the Danish resistance made it home to England. After a short rest he continued to fly again from RAF Banff, he left the RAF in 1946. Bert Winwood passed away in 2012.
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